TIFFANY, “PIECES OF ME” ALBUM REVIEW

I liked Tiffany better than Debbie Gibson during teen pop idol sensation in the late ’80s. 

During that period, many kids sided either Tiffany or Debbie, who were competing for the youngest to be #1, but not both (16-year-old Tiffany reached at #1 with “I Think We’re Alone Now” in 1987. Debbie, a year older, finally got her #1 with “Foolish Beat” a year later after 3 top 10 hits). The majority supported Debbie. Debbie Gibson actually had more things I would like than Tiffany. I liked “Only in My Dreams”. Debbie had more hit songs than Tiffany. And she had better music skills than Tiffany, including songwriting and piano. Still, I liked Tiffany better than Debbie. I don’t know why, but what I assume is I really liked “I Think We’re Alone Now”, Tiffany’s voice singing it, and her pretty face. Probably chemistry things. I wasn’t much interested in Debbie’s other hit songs such as “Shake Your Love”, “Out of the Blue”, and “Lost in Your Eyes”. And maybe it was a boy’s perverse nature against Debbie’s early multi-talent, better than mine. Hey, I was a teenager at that time as well! So Tiffany walked a little part of my youth including buying her album while Debbie Gibson didn’t.

Eventually, Tiffany faded away as the teen wave was gone, then Debbie as well. I didn’t pay attention to both of them. Alas, for about 30 years. I heard the news both were active, Tiffany made a country album and Debbie Gibson acted on Broadway, but not enough to gain my interest again. 

Tiffany attracted me again last year. She suddenly came to my mind out of nowhere, and I checked her on YouTube. What I found was this.

Everything was different with 30 years ago, but what impressed me was Tiffany singing her biggest hit so vivid, powerful, and soulful. Especially regarding her vocal performance, I couldn’t compare. Tiffany at 45 years old was much better than 16 years old. Despite many singers tend to lose their voice as getting older (like Debbie Gibson), Tiffany gains more voice although the voice type was changed. I assumed Tiffany didn’t give up her career and humbly continued vocal training. 
I also felt her freedom on the stage unlike controlled career when she was a teenager. 
No more controlled marionette by her manager, who answered most of the interviews while Tiffany was sitting next. 
No more pretty girl who didn’t know how to perform at the concerts other than waving hands while moving left to right. 
No more girly voice wanted to be adult.
A pretty pop princess wasn’t not seen there. Tiffany evolved into a totally independent (and beautiful) adult female singer who gained more power and her own performance.
The video was a quite knock out especially after she mistakenly sang on the interlude (2:43). After naturally changing a mistake into a highlight by a performance with a keyboardist, a powerful duet with a background vocalist, jumping with a guitarist, correcting background vocalist’s key, heating up the audience…I witnessed a professional performance there. 

Tiffany’s singing style was changed. I never expected I would describe her voice as “soulful” before but here she was. With this video, I thought it would be interesting if Tiffany created a blues-rock album that would fit with her current husky voice. That would be more vision-focused than the original pop albums or challenging a country album.  

Tiffany really did create a blues-rock oriented album.
More than that, how many people did know Tiffany released an album on September 21?

I didn’t…until the official video of her single, “Worlds Away” popped out on YouTube a few weeks ago. 

Pieces of Me is the product after Tiffany reviewed and understood her current voice, rather than pursuing her previous path. If Tiffany’s fans expected the same musical direction from the self-titled debut album (her biggest hit album) and the following Hold an Old Friend’s Hand, or to be more direct, “I Think We’re Alone Now”, Pieces of Me would be a disappointment because the latest album doesn’t have pop element except for catchy “Beautiful” and “Heartbeat Away”. Pieces of Me is filled with more dark and solid guitar sounds than light keyboard sounds. But without prejudice, the album doesn’t have incongruousness with today’s Tiffany who started a career as a pop idol. Tiffany’s emotional voice comfortably matches with the rock sound. Especially her powerful work with the last rock opera song, “The Fall”, is fire. Yes, rock opera! I swear that I didn’t imagine Tiffany at 16 would sing such a dynamic song when I was her fan. Tiffany’s voice is that thick and dynamic now. Such a big transformation, but a positive progress. 

Most of the materials are the blues-rock inspired songs that I want to listen at tinted old and small country-western bar filled with the smell of scotch and cigarettes. Objectively, the album itself is average…and a little outdated. The type of bluesy songs Tiffany sang was the hard rock trend in the ’90s. Pieces of Me would be more interesting if the album was a little more progressive than the resemblance of the ’90s. With more fresh impact.
Songs maintain satisfying quality. Many songs were composed to impress Tiffany’s powerful and dramatic vocal performance during the chorus like “Worlds Away”, “Pieces of Me”, and “King of Lies”. Tiffany’s voice keeps the identity and makes the difference in the songs that could be similar with others.

I really don’t think Tiffany’s choice of new musical direction was a mistake. She made the right choice. Again, honestly, the album quality is average in this world with thousands of albums, and probably it will be difficult for the album to get into the charts like before. But her new focus succeeded to appeal new Tiffany and gained back potentials to evolve into better creativity. Kudos to Tiffany who stood on the new start line, sincerely wishing her to pursue this music direction.

OVERALL POINTS: 80/100

  • Songs: ★★★★
  • Originality: ★★★
  • Thrills: ★★★★
  • Song orders: ★★★★★★
  • Vocal: ★★★★+1/2
  • Background: ★★★+3/4
  • Production: ★★★+3/4
  • Strong songs: “Worlds Away”, “Beautiful”, “Starting Over”, “Heartbeat Away”, “The Fall”

EXTRA (NOT COUNTED TOWARD THE OVERALL POINTS)

  • Title: C
  • Album cover: A

TIFFANY, PIECES OF ME

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